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By Patricia Kime
Copyright 2014 www.militarytimes.com
The Pentagon’s proposed 2015 budget, unveiled Monday, includes a surprise proposal to raise health care fees for active-duty family members which, if approved, would mark the first increases in health care costs for those beneficiaries since Tricare was established nearly 20 years ago.
Under the plan, the proposed fee increases — expected to come in the form of higher deductibles and co-payments — would affect both active-duty family members and retirees and their families.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel did not provide details on the proposals, but said they are designed to encourage Tricare beneficiaries to get health care from facilities and doctors who operate at lower cost to the government, such as military treatment facilities and preferred network providers.
“We will ask retirees and some active-duty family members to pay a little more in their deductibles and co-pays, but their benefits will remain affordable and generous … as they should be,” Hagel said.
In addition to adjusting deductibles and co-pays for nearly all beneficiaries except active-duty members, Tricare beneficiaries also would see their Tricare options “consolidated” and their prescription co-payments increased.